What’s on the Bookshelf: Family Edition


I grew up with my nose in a book. I was never without a book and reading was a lifeline for me through some challenging times. I dreamt of becoming Belle so I could have my very own library in my house. Instead, I found that I grew up and stopped reading once I had kids. The time to become lost in a novel had simply disappeared. Thankfully, when we moved to Portland, I discovered Powell’s and my love of reading (and book collecting) was re-born! Here is a snapshot of a few of our favorites on the bookshelf now. 

My Bookshelf

The Soul of The Octopus by Sy Montgomery

A rare opportunity to catch a glimpse into the mysteriously beautiful world of the octopus. I was instantly captivated and was shocked by a level of deep reflection that occurred while reading the book. It was easy to become attached to the characters, human and aquatic alike, and to be inspired by the curiosity of trying to understand a creature so unlike ourselves. 

The Importance of Being Little by Erika Christakis

I read this book over the summer while we playground hopped around Portland and continue to reference it when I need a reminder of what my kids priorities are (hint: it’s play). This gave me the research to support beliefs I held and also was an excellent launching point for conversation about some of the stickier parenting topics you encounter with toddler and preschool aged kids. 

My Husband’s Bookshelf

What Technology Wants by Kevin Kelly

An  interesting read about the history of technology and how it continues to evolve. The author connects biological evolution and technological evolution through his research and anecdotal data. My husbands take-away from reading this was we have the option of choosing HOW we use technologies to enhance our life, rather than distract or detract, and that we have the ultimate responsibility to pass this lesson on to our children through our modeling of the role tech plays in our lives today. 

Creativity by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

This is a collection of the author’s observations of interviews done with creatives across a variety of professions, organized by themes that emerged. The idea presented by this book was that creativity comes through years of working the creative muscle and through understanding the rules of the creative domain, then pushing those boundaries to explore where your original ideas blend in or stand out within that industry. This book is filled with powerfully motivating ideas when you’re ready to expand your horizons!

My Kids’ Book Piles

I’m NOT Just A Scribble by Diane Alber

My kids LOVE this book! The main character is (you guessed it!) a scribble who is trying to find his place in the world and is met with some rigid ideas of what is “normal”. It was a fun read with a really great message for all of us. We enjoyed talking about the plot and all of the different characters, but our favorite part was making our own “scribble stories” after! 

The Circus Ship by Chris Van Dusen

This is one of our #1 go-to books. Both of my kids love the illustrations and the predictability of the rhyming text. This story is set off the coast of Maine, so it definitely pulls at our heart strings a bit and brings up some happy nostalgia. Plus, there is a hidden pictures of sorts one on of the pages that is a fan favorite every time.  

The “You Should Meet” Collection

Katherine Johnson & Misty Copeland have captured my kids attention this month with their respective association and contributions to space exploration and ballet. We’ve yet to meet a person we haven’t found fascinating through this series! 

The Magic School Bus Series

We re-discovered the cartoon series on Amazon Prime and my kids  love the characters and Ms. Frizzle’s teaching. When they requested “research books” from the library, I knew just what to show them! These books have been an awesome addition to our science explorations and I appreciate the straight forward delivery of facts in a kid-friendly and fun way.

What’s on my 2020 reading list?

  • Me and White Supremacy by Layla F Saad
  • Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
  • The Splendid & the Vile by Erik Larson
  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  • The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Dare
  • All Adults Here by Emma Straub
  • The Big Truck That Went By by Johnathan M. Katz

What are your favorite books? Share in the comments below! 

Previous articleFinding Power in a Group of Women I Never Knew I Needed
Next articleThinking About Returning to Paid Work?
Katie is a recent East Coast transplant from Maine, where she was born and raised. While trying to figure out how to create the life they wanted to live, Katie’s husband, David, was presented with a job opportunity in Portland. They decided to go for it and moved across the country with their two young children. Katie has previously worked as an occupational therapist in an early childhood setting, but with the move was presented with the opportunity to stay home with her kids and she took it! It has been an adventure switching to life as a full time stay-at-home mom to her five-year-old daughter and three-year-old son. She spends her days exploring Portland’s playgrounds and coffee shops, looking for new vegetarian restaurants to check out, and trying to remember that slowing down is a good thing. Since arriving in Portland, she has begun making time for all of the things that have caught her interest over the years: yoga, cooking with local foods, experimenting with sustainable lifestyle choices, writing and getting outside in the always beautiful PNW.